A novel promotion to offset the impact of Covid-19 on the tourism industry is reaping rewards for the owners of Oamaru’s Pen-y-bryn Lodge.
Co-owner James Glucksman said in the six weeks since the pay-what-you-like promotion began on May 18, things had gone “better than expected”. Potential guests had been offered the opportunity to suggest the price they were willing to pay to stay in the sumptuous surroundings.
Eighty bookings already been through, and most were multiple-night guests, he said.
“We’ve had a lot of inquiries, and with very, very few exceptions, the prices people have named have been reasonable. And the guests that have come so far have been really wonderful.”
Mr Glucksman said people often came as groups – such as three couples travelling together, or a family.
“Normally in winter time when we get bookings, we might get one room full, maybe two. But we’ve had quite a few full-house nights, which is really good. And a lot of the guests have taken the opportunity to have dinner with us as well, which has helped with our bottom line.
“But they’ve also gone out, and brought a bit of business to the restaurants in town. They’ve gone shopping in the the town. So it’s good.”
Compared with past winters Pen-y-bryn had been open, business has been unprecedented. “In normal years, we have a much larger pool of potential visitors, because we’ve got the entire world from where they could be coming,” Mr Glucksman said.
“But in the winter time when we had travellers, they rarely stayed more than one night. But now they’re staying as many as four nights.”
The promotion has gone so well, Mr Glucksman said in the future they might revisit it.
“We might just do something where we say, in what for us is normally a shoulder-period, which would be the month of May into June, and then the month of August, we might decide that’s going to be our pay-what-you-like period, and make it only for New Zealanders. So that they get a bit of an opportunity to travel around, and we keep things interesting for ourselves.”